The Simple Life

Fort Weyr - Lake Shore
This lake shares many features common to mountain lakes — a brilliant blue jewel nestled amongst the rocks. The waters are crystal clear, and the north shore slopes gently before abruptly falling away into the depths. This lake does have one significant differentiating feature, however. The south shore of the lake is a tumbled mass of rubble, rock and earth of an ancient rockslide smoothed only by the elements in the intervening years. This rubble, as well as the rather sheer east and west faces, makes for the north shore to be the only one easily accessible. Springs arrival is noted by the disappearing lake ice. As it melts it breaks up into smaller icy bergs. These bob randomly throughout the choppy waters, slowly disappearing as the temperatures rise. They also frequently provide sport and entertainment for the bathing dragons. The emerging shoreline is inviting, though the water remains chilly for their human counterparts. As spring draws nearer to summer, the waters begin to feel quite invigorating with Rukbat's growing shine.


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While folks are busy chasing rabbits, S'ai and Zeruth are catching water. It might be lacking in the ice but the water is by no means warm, but there the two are. The bronze is mostly floating while his rider swims laps around the wallowing beast. Judging by his pace and focused strokes it's likely not recreational, looking like he has a decided purpose in freezing himself other than for kicks.

Not everyone is so focused. Some people are just out for a stroll, getting away from the caverns after a long winter trapped indoors, shaking off the last vestiges of cabin fever. Tivaly is one such a person, coming from the direction of the Weyr proper with what looks like a kerchief-wrapped bundle in one hand and a big, old book in the other one. She picks her way among the fallen rocks and scattered gravel, looking for somewhere a little more hospitable - and pausing in this search, head tilted, to survey the doings in the water itself. Pale eyes follow those determined strokes, as if this is at least as riveting as what she hoped to find in her book.

Out in the water, S'ai pauses near the bronze's head, panting as he scrubs his hair back from his face. "Alright, pal, think that's enough for today. Cold water training may be good for endurance but not my anatomy." Snorting in what could be humor, the dragon lowers his muzzle into the water and unceremoniously shoves his rider towards shore onto which S'ai stumbles. "…hey hey, I didn't need to get out right this second." He grumbles in mock annoyance as he scoops up a towel on top of haphazardly piled shirt, vest, shoes, and overpants. For the moment he's ignorant to anyone nearby.

Tivaly's not doing much to draw attention to herself, so being overlooked is perfectly understandable. She's not, say, wandering around in all her scantily clad glory, emerging from icy waters into plain view. Neither does she immediately avert her eyes; not that she's staring, but a free show is a free show, right? It's only once he's scooping up his gear that she alerts S'ai to her presence with a mild comment, one that's tinged with just enough humor to hopefully take any sting out of the potential barbs. "That water must be cold." 'hem.

Ever so slowly is the towel drawn off his head from where he was drying it off and settles his eyes on Tivaly. To his credit, he doesn't blush, only drapes the towel over his shoulder and crossing his arms over his chest. There's scars to be seen easy enough. One high on his abdomen that's sharp and brief, a long and half-jagged one on his arm, along with the faintly ridged nose. He's clearly got smacked around, but then folks in Fort know what he did during weyrlinghood. "Very." He says and there's a wicked gleam of bright green in Zeruth's eyes behind him. He's a dragon, not oblivious. When the bronzerider talks further, it's with a flawlessly indifferent crooked grin. "But hey, if you're waiting for a turn don't mind Zeruth there, he'll leave you plenty of space."

The gleam of green is enough to distract Tivaly's eyes for a moment or two, long enough to isolate the source - ahh, a dragon - and to associate the dragon with Grinny McConfidence here in front of her. The coalescing of all these facts into a single snap-judgment is all but written on her face when she smiles a perfectly socially correct smile at S'ai. Which is kind of impressive given the situation, but that's digressing. "As considerate as that is of him, I'll have to take a rain-check. It really looks awfully cold." She's not looking at the water but at, uhm, well, let's just call it the bronzerider's lap-region. "And it would ruin my book," she adds charitably.

One might expect the commentary to annoy most men, but S'ai seems to share in his dragon's enthusiasm and mirth is in his expression that he's managing to keep swallowed back. "Well, we can't have your book ruined, can we?" He remarks as he finishes drying so that he can pull on pants without making them damp. "That'd be a shame. I hear you find interesting things in those." His shirt is loosely tossed on, the ties near the neck left undone because he just can't be bothered and the towel is once more on his shoulder. "Name's S'ai, work search and rescue - hence the noble sacrifice of my dignity back there."

"'Interesting things' aren't especially hard to find, if you know where to look." And considering where she'd been looking… But now S'ai has his pants on, and there's a name to go with the face (and other bits), so Tivaly manages to shift her kerchiefed bundle to be carried in the same hand as her book, closing the distance between herself and the bronzerider to offer a handshake and answer, "Tivaly, Harper. So at least your sacrifice won't go undocumented in the annals of history."

"Oh, splendid to hear!" S'ai says with a cheerfulness no man has any business having with such a comment as he shakes the offered hand. "Well met, Tivaly. At least if history's going to gossip the story seems to be in capable hands. Heck, immortality like that I might just owe you a drink for sometime." There's a faint wave of his hand to their surroundings as he asks, "So, what brings you out this way? I'd have remembered spotting you around, visiting? Or else I just haven't crossed paths with you yet."

Tivaly doesn't specifically argue with what he might owe her, but she does fold her lips around a burgeoning smirk and shake her head just enough that the gesture is perceptible if not pronounced. As for what brings her, she lifts the bundle, lifts the book, and answers, "Cabin fever," as if the three have something to do with one another. "Unless you frequent the records room," and her tone seriously doubts that he does, "then our paths were previously unlikely to cross. Do you eat apples?" The latter question seems apropos of nothing, it's true.

"I know that feeling. "S'ai says with a long exhale. "Until I Impressed here I'd wandering Pern as much as I wanted, where I wanted. It's been a long time since I was bound to one place. It's good to get out and see the sights. Admittedly, the records room is not one of them. I appreciate what books offer, they just put me to sleep. A room of them? I could hibernate in there!" The question regarding apples brings a blink from the young man as he rubs a hand at the back of his neck. "I eat just about anything, but sure, apples are pretty good."

Tivaly, while sitting down, having found a patch of sand that's not too rocky, pauses a moment with her eyes partially narrowed and her head tipped, the attitude of someone envisioning something. Presumably the 'something' is the idea of S'ai hibernating in the records room, which she ends over a mild, "Hm." The question about apples makes more sense when she unties her napkin-wrapped bundle, spilling out two apples, a roll, a small silver flask (don't judge her!!!), and a piece of cheese. One of the two apples, a little withered from a long winter but still good, gets held up at arm's length toward S'ai while she comments, "Wandering Pern, and yet you choose to swim in a lake of ice. Bit of a masochist, S'ai?" With wide eyes so guileless they must be masking heaps of it (guile, that is).

S'ai coughs out a laugh as he takes the apple, murmuring a thanks as he sits himself down - though without the foresight to sit on the towel. "Uh, I'd… bet a few marks on being called that. Guess you could call me a daredevil - or a fool. Both. I like a rush, I wouln't lie. Jumping off cliffs into the ocean, bareback on a runner going all out, riding with Zeruth here as high as we can possibly go just to drop. I dunno." He ponders the skin of the apple and the faint reflection of the sky. "Guess that rush just helps remind you you're still alive, that this day to day drudgery isn't just some boring dream. Sure, I've botched a few." He says, holding up his arm to indicate the scar there. "But hey, can't appreciate your life quite so much until you realize how short it can me."

An eyebrow raises and stays raised at what Tivaly could call him. Considering she already called him a masochist… But she says nothing to derail his explanation, letting S'ai explain his predilection for foolishness without interrupting, only comment under her breath at the end of it, "Second person." While he only looks at the apple, she takes a bite of her own, allowing herself a few seconds to contemplate his words while she chews a bite then tucks its remnants into her cheek, at the back of her jaw, where it's unlikely to make an appearance while she speaks. "There's no thrill in your day-to-day life, then? So that you feel the need to - " And she rakes the scar with an accusing glance. " - risk everything to prove something?" Words like hers could so easily be rude, accusing, even belittling, but she asks with no more than frank curiosity: She's not judging S'ai, just asking.

S'ai is probably used to commentary both good and negative and he never once blinks at her questions, only taking a bite of the apple and giving his head a slow tilt one way and then the other consideringly. "Eh. Sorta." He mumbles around a bite before he swallows. He hitched up a knee to drape his arm over it, giving it a bit of a gesture as he talks. "I mean, you could say if something isn't worth everything, then it's probably not worth much at all. At least the important things. Beating someone to the front of the breakfast line probably isn't taking a shiv to the gut. Most of the time. After a hangover? An emphatic yes."

With amusement coloring the pronoun in particular, Tivaly argues, "You could also say that swimming in icy waters after a particularly brutal winter doesn't suggest a wealth of intelligence. Not that I'm saying that, mind, but you can see the argument, I'm sure." And, amused at herself even if no one else is around to share the cause of her mirth, she looks toward that cold water, and the bronze still therein, for another bite of the apple. "What's that saying? The one about living on the edge or missing the view? Is the view so grand, o He Who Clearly Lives On That Proverbial Edge?" The capital letters are definitely intoned.

Another bite of apple is eaten before S'ai responds, "Guess it matters what view you like. Ground's perfectly well and fine. Rocks are pretty if you close enough at them. Flowers, well, smell. Me? I prefer the view from up there." He gestures skyward with his free hand then towards the lake. "And from under there." Then there's a gesture to the mountains all around. "And from inside there. You should see the inside of his head. Nowhere on Pern looks like that. Heck, just lay upside down hanging off your bed and the world looks a lot different. You miss a lot looking at the world from only one direction."

"Thank you," but no, says the way Tivaly shakes her head at the notion of seeing the view from inside the bronze's head, a polite decline rather than a judgmental one. It seems to be her M.O.: praytell, and she promises not to judge, even if she begs to differ. "Would you give up the minutiae for the thrill, then? The simple joy of clean sheets on laundry day, the mist in the morning when it's still cool and has just turned from gray to pearlescent pink, the comfort of a well-worn shirt," and she glances insinuatingly at the open laces, guessing that S'ai's pretty comfy in that one, "or the taste of butter and brown sugar in your oatmeal? All of it gone, replaced with the promise of that adrenaline-heavy rush every time you dive into the ice water, drop from a thousand 'lengths and pull up at the last minute?" She holds up her book hand and her apple hand like some sort of scale for the intangible, which does he choose, which does he choose.

S'ai gives a faint hitch of his shoulder as he just about finishes the apple, using the chew time as thinking time. "I figure it's, well, that." He says with a point to her hands of judgement. "Spend all your time curled in warm sheets and you forget what's out here. Spend all your time up there," And again with the skyward point. "And you learn to appreciate the simplicity of warm sheets. Too much of a good thing, while still a good thing, is still too much. Now, if you find a way to explore and keep fresh, clean sheets then you'll become my new personal hero."

Tivaly's, "Fair point," both accepts and commends the argument that S'ai makes. Which still doesn't say where she specifically falls with regards to the issue, but at least she's willing to see both sides? As for the issue of clean sheets that've been explored, well… "I believe they call the solution 'laundry.' As in, once you've had one too many adventures in your sheets," his specifically, not hers, "you have them washed and start over. It really is a marvelous thing, this modern era in which we live." Bite, chew, nod sagely, look wise.

S'ai gives his eyes a faint roll, the grin on his face conceding the point to her with a faint tip of his head. "Hey, I'm a guy. What do I know about this laun-dry you speak of? I just kinda shift them around until the corner my face is against doesn't smell as bad as the last one. I mean, there are multiple sides. Seems kinda dumb to waste three." The last of his apple is finished and he sets the core down next to him and turns to look across the field. A few rabbits are seen nibbling the turf and he tosses it their way. "Especially once you've gotten them so nice and broken in."

"What a delightful image you conjure, S'ai. I trust you won't read too much into it if I just scoot down this way a bit, hm?" Bracing herself with her palms on the gritty sand, Tivaly makes good on that and scoots a little distance away - only five or six inches, more for the theatre of doing so than any practical application of having done so. She has to grab the corner of her napkin and slide the rest of her snack closer to her afterward, after throwing her own apple core not at the rabbits but at the shoreline, just shy of the water (throws like a girl). "But at least now the willingness to swim in icy waters suddenly makes sense: not too discerning, hm?"

S'ai holds up both of his hands in a defeated shrug, his grin wide and easy. "What can I say? I live a simple life." Back on the shoreline, there is a bronze head sneaking in to sniff at the tiny apple core. Zeruth otherwise seems content to leave the two to their business. "And at least it keeps me clean, even if my sheets aren't, right? Priorities." He says with a waggle of a finger. "Besides, weyrs are good for keeping your place aired out. Keeping the wind /out/ is the trick."

He lives a simple life, "For an adrenaline-junky." Tivaly watches the dragon for a moment, with the sniffing, and then draws in a breath and finishes the gesture of pulling her napkin closer by matching up its corners, tying closed the rest of her little snack (which now consists of a roll, a piece of cheese, and a flask of something-or-other, for anyone keeping score). "Ah, now there's one I cannot solve. One hopes that there are smarter people than the two of us hard at work on this problem right now," she muses, like they're talking about ending world hunger and not just keeping a draught out.

"I hope so." S'ai remarks with mock-gravity. "A rigged curtain works though, keeps the rain and snow out too. Not glamorous but a bit of oiled canvas and a pulley can work wonders. Well, a lot of oiled canvas. The Weavers will never invite me to another poker game again. It's just something we rigged up when we moved in. But, here we are yammering about my terribly habits and disregard for my own sanity. What keeps you busy in those dusty old archives?"

"Dirty sheets, oiled canvas, such glamour. You do make a girl's heart flutter with such depictions of your life," says Tivaly, fanning her fingers at her face as if she can feel a blush a-rising to her cheeks. There's no blush, but she does a convincing impression of one, just before pushing to her feet and dusting bits of gravel off the back of her skirt. With a small, rueful laugh, she answers that question simply: "Those dusty old archives keep me busy, alas. And I had better head back to them, or I'll never get this - " Lifting the old, worn book that she hasn't yet cracked open. " - read. It was a pleasure to meet you, S'ai. Even if it was rather a lot of you to meet all at once." 'hem.

"Hey, I could die tomorrow doing something stupid," S'ai says as he pulls himself off the ground, not worrying about all the dirt on his pants. "At least now you can say you got to know me moderately well instead of that guy by the lake. Not as much immortality as that," With said boot indicated. "But the best us lowly folk can hope for. Thanks for the apple, Tivaly. Don't fall asleep in those archives. The rabbits are merciless, I hear." With a parting tip of his head, he glances back over to Zeruth with a lopsided grin and that faintly distant look signaling that conversation only he can hear. Then the bronze is rising out of the lake, dripping water as he lumbers up onto shore.

Tivaly can be heard musing as she starts back toward the Weyr proper, "Chapter Nine. Larger Than Life Bronzerider." Which, hey, is flattering, right?! She lingers for a moment, watching not the rider but the dragon, then picks up the pace to get back before… well, whatever it is that makes Harpers feel the need to hurry-hurry back to records that've been waiting for who-knows-how-long already.


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